Fludd Mosaical Philosophy Book 1, Chapter 3.Back to Mosaical Philosophy page.
How that amiable and bright emanation of vivifying Love, shone forth from the Fountain of all goodness, and displaced litigious and odious darkness from the Throne of the obscure Chaos or dark Abyss, that thereby a World might be made of nothing that was actual, and beautified by the formal presence thereof.
It is a wondrous thing, and passing all human understanding, that out of one Unity in essence and nature, two branches of such an opposite nature should arise and sprout forth, as are Darkness (which is the seat of error, deformity, contention, privation, or death) and Light (which is the vehicle of truth, beauty, love, position, and life).
It is not for nothing that the sect of the Manichaeans did so stiffly hold that there were two coeternal principles, whereof they made one to be God whom they termed the Prince of Light, and the beginner and Author of life, health, and all goodness; the other they attributed to the Devil, whom they entitled the Prince of Darkness, and the original and principle of opposition, death, sickness, and all evil. They esteemed the Devil or Prince of Darkness therefore coeternal in being with God, because there can be no goodness which has not relation unto its contrary, namely evil. For this reason, they will have, forsooth, the God of evil, to be of a coeternal existence with the God of goodness. By which means they would not only exclude the Devil out of the list of creatures, but also banish Unity out of the bound of nature and jostle Diady or Duality (which in truth is nothing else but a confusion of Unities) in its place.
Truly this point did seem so ticklish and difficult to be scanned and resolved, that there were some of the wiser sort of Poetical Philosophers that did incline unto their part, as it appears by such mystical and allegorical expressions as they did allegorically roll up or wrap in their fabulous discourses. Amongst the rest, we find that the Poet Pronapis in his Protocosmus, avers that Demogorgon, (by which is meant the greatest of Gods) was garged or encircled about with Eternity and Chaos. And that at a time when he was in majesty, he did perceive a great tumult and troublesome motion to be stirred up in the bowels of the Chaos. Whereupon to help her in her travails and ease her of her trouble, he put forth his hand and performing the office of a midwife, did suddenly deliver her of the foul and deformed Monster Litigium, or strife, which after such time as it had moved great storm and troubles, and had ambitiously attempted to soar or fly upward, was forthwith by Demogorgon cast down into the deep. But when he yet perceived her to travail and be oppressed miserably with fervent sighs and dropping sweats, Demogorgon would not in these agonies of her remove his hand from her, until she was delivered of Pan, with his three sisters, who were called the Parcae or Destinies. And when Demogorgon was much affected and taken with the beauty and excellent form of Pan, he made him the Ruler of all his familiar business in the world, and commanded his three Sisters, and his Hand-maids and Ministers, to obey his behests and will.
It followed, that Chaos being over burdened and oppressed, with the weight of so great a heap or Mass as she travailed with, and now being delivered and freed from it, did at the persuasion of Demogorgon, place her Son Pan upon her Throne. This is the Parabolical fable of Demogorgon and Chaos, familiarly told by the Poets. Their allegory imported, that the generation and procreation of all things, did spring from the highest God or Creator, which they signify by the name of Demogorgon, unto who Eternity is joined, by an inviolable link in one essential society, because he only is truly to be called Eternal, who is, and ever was the beginning or primary cause of all things. And they fain also that Chaos made a third in that endless Society, forasmuch as she is, by Ovid's relation, the common mixed and confused matter of stuff of all things in the world, and therefore the Ancients did affirm her to be eternal with God, as being a rule Mass or dark Abyss, out of which Demogorgon, as a universal Father and Work-master did according unto his will procreate and fashion out all things, and therefore they did esteem this catholic Substance or matter of all things, to be the general Mother, on which and out of which, the universal Father did beget and frame out every thing. For which cause they concluded that there were two general parents of things from endless antiquity, whereof the one was the Father and the other the Mother. But they consented that God was their chief cause, and they would have the Chaos serve only as his passive companion to engender on. And although it may appear, that the wise and divine Plato does seem in some sort to verify that the Chaos was God's companion from all antiquity, yet he does intimate to us well, as many others of like profundity, that although she be termed a companion with God in the Creation, yet she did issue from him by a certain eternal generation or production, and that afterwards God did frame all things out of Chaos.
For which cause they conclude that it did spring from God and is never divided from him, as also it serves God as a female companion, for procreation and generation, no otherwise than Eve, being framed out of Adam, was called a companion unto Adam. This is the opinion of both the Heathen Philosophers and mystical Cabalists.
But to proceed in this Allegory's exposition. The hand of Demogorgon importeth the Divine Puissance. The first born of Chaos, namely Litigium, with a foul shape, signifies the true Prince of Darkness, the Author of opposition the Father of discord, and therefore for his presumptuous attempt, against the Prince of Light, and the Lord of Life, he was cast down into the abyss. By the Second birth of Chaos, namely Pan, they point at the universal nature of the world, and the peaceableness and accord of contrary elements, arguing thereby, that after that great discord which was in the first opening of the womb of Chaos, concord did follow in the second place, which was as beautiful and acceptable unto God in the later birth, as deformed discord was foul and odious in his sight in the first.
Thus you see how in the first beginning of the world all the Elements were at strife in the bowels of the Chaos. The three Parcae, or Sisters of Destiny - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos - which were born with Pan, do signify the three orders of time, namely the time present, the time past, and the time to came. Clotho has the care of the present time, and her office is to twist the thread of life. Lachesis is the superintendrix of the time to come, and looks to the flax or hemp which is not yet spun or twisted. Atropos does import the time past, which is irrevocable, and therefore she finishes and cuts off the thread now spun. I infer from this parabolic relation that though the Chaos or dark abyss be with God before the world's creation, yet did the infinite and sole eternal Unity or radical Essence create it, and produce it out of itself. For that Eternal Unity says, "I am the Lord and there is no other, who do inform light, and create darkness, making peace and creating evil." (Isaiah 45, 7)
As if he had said, I am the Father of Light or of the bright Spirit of Wisdom, and I created the dark Chaos, out of which I framed the world, and out of her I produced the concord and discord of the Elements in the world, that is to say, Litigium and Pan. So that we may discern still that there is but one Eternal Unity, which in itself is male and female, and all that can be imagined, which of himself and in himself produceth all things, no otherwise than Adam contained in himself Eve, which was the Mother of the little world, or man after Adam. And therefore Hermes says, "God being full of the fertility of both sexes, and being life and light, brought forth another Divine Spirit by his Word." (Pimander)
It is evident therefore, that out of one and the same radical Unity, existing before all antiquity, both the matter and form of all things do proceed, and that they appear in regard of their being or births but aevial, that is, having a beginning but no end, though in their essential Root, they are Eternal in God, the absolute Monady or Unity of all things. So that, as the dark Chaos and the bright informing Spirit, are two principles opposite and contrary to one another, in nature and property, (for from the dark principle discord, evil, cold, congelation, rest, death, privation, negation or Nolunty, do proceed; but from the other which is the type of beauty, and grace, namely the bright beginning, light, concord, goodness, heat, resolution, motion, life, and position, or Volunty, are poured out into the nature of the world, to cause it to exist and live) so also both these are but main branches, arising from one and the same essential Unity, which when they cannot pass or exceed the limits of their infinite fountain, are in him light and darkness, and not differing in essence from their Root, which is in all. As the Psalmist says, "Darkness is unto him as light." (Psalm 139, 12). For all is one in him, who is only one and the same in himself, in whom by whom, and therefore by whom are all things. (Romans 11, 36)
For his Volunty and Nolunty is but all one in him that is one simple Identity, and what is his Volunty, that is as well his affirmation as his negation, which is all but one good in him that is all goodness. And yet in regard to the creature, when his negation has the supremacy, he hides the light of his loving countenance, and all is dark, and then he operates in regard of his privation. For when he hides his face, all is deformed, and as it were void of essence and goodness. Lo here is his Volunty, negative or privative, which may be rightly be termed his Nolunty. If his affirmation has dominion, he emits the beauty of his benignity, and the creatures expecting spirit is enlightened by his presence, and consequently replenished with goodness. Lo here is also his Volunty affirmative or positive, called his Volunty in the right sense.
But lest any man should think this strange, let him but observe the mental beam, which is assigned by God unto man to inform him with reason and adorn him with understanding. We know that men has but one Divine nature, which gives him intellect. The spirit is in man, but the omnipotent inspiration makes him intelligent. (Job 9)
And yet this Unity in essence, which is the Image of God, operates in general by two contrary properties. Whereof the one is apt to affirm, give, and grant a petition by an affable emanation (Lo here is the Act of position scored out in man's spiritual Unity), or else to deny, take away, or be against the demand of him that craves by a private oblation of the wished rewards (Lo here is the effect of negation deciphered, for the mental beam shines not out into the Petitioner, but is reserved or contracted in itself). In these two actions, we may observe but only one effect which is laudable, in this one simple and absolute unity unto the petitioner. For though I grant by the friendly and pitiful emanation or emission of my mental beam, so that it is according to the petitioners wish, or though I demand his demand, contrary unto his desire, and so it appears to be a great evil or mischief unto the demander, yet unto my mental spirit, both the affirmation or negation appears good, and are founded upon good reason, and therefore are indeed but one thing, though they seem diverse to the demander. In like manner, in the eternal and archetypal mental unity, whose type or similitude the beam of our understanding is, as well the act of Volunty as Nolunty, is all one, and that is goodness. For he that is all goodness, has in itself no contrariety, although in the creature, which is subject unto the effects, either of his privative or positive will, his privative or dark action is esteemed for evil, as contrariwise his positive and light emanation that is full of love and benignity, is received as good and therefore embraced with joy.
For does not the holy Text tell us,
"Good and evil, life and death are from God," (Ecclesiastes 11, 14).
And does it not tell us in another place,
"God hiding his face from the creatures, they are troubled and sick. Taking his bright vivifying Spirit from them they die, and sending it forth again they are recreated with goodness health and life," (Psalm 104)
And yet there is neither of these two properties in this one essential Unity, but is good absolutely, though the latter be privative, passive, odious, disturbing, and deadly unto the creature that endures the effect. Is it not written that he hath the power of life and death, and doth lead down unto the mouth of the grave and can bring back again to life when he pleaseth, (Sapientia 16, 13), (Psalm 9, 6). And yet all this is but according to his double property of Volunty and Nolunty, that is, of his granting or positive emanation, and privative or negative condition, which are (as I have said) both good in him, who is nothing but pure goodness in his simple and absolute nature, and therefore are one in him who is sincere unity in himself. Whereupon the wise Philosopher, not disagreeing from this from Scriptures, says,
"In the divine essence there is not any thing but unity and goodness, for from the Creator there is neither evil nor filthiness." (Pimander 14)
And for this reason, when Job did see that God did strike him, as it seemed to him without a cause, forasmuch as he was a just man, and (as the text says) according to God's heart, he being egged forward, notwithstanding all his pains, with a pious zeal towards his Creator, though he knew that his affliction proceeded from the hiding of his Maker's countenance from him, did break forth in these terms,
"And yet for all that, far be it from me, that I should deem any impiety to be in God, or that iniquity should proceed from the Almighty." (Job 14)
It is most apparent unto the slightest Philosopher that God is conversant in the created nature as well as being without corruption and privation, as generation and position, and yet no good Christian can be ignorant, but that either of these opposite properties, so familiar in one sincere essence, is absolutely good, in that it is completely excellent in goodness in itself, although nothing is more terrible, fearful, abominable, and wicked to the creature, than in his own death and corruption. If we Christians deny the property in the Ideal unity, namely, as well to deprive the creature of life, by withdrawing his act of life from it unto himself, we may justly image ourselves to be inferior in judgement, from the Infidel Poets and Philosophers, who do verify this aforementioned axiom of the wise man. "Good and evil, life and death, riches and poverty, are all from God," (Ecclesiastes 11). Whereby he intimates that this one essential divinity operates oppositely in the created world, by a two-fold differing property.
Their allegorical story is this. Proclus following the ancient Theology of Orpheus, Hesiod, Euripides, and Aeschylos (who have enveloped in their fabulous Counts or Stories such hidden secrets as they had learned from divine persons, and such as were profoundly seen in the mysteries of God) do decipher the properties of the supreme and archetypal Son, under the shadow of the visible and Mystical Sun, in this manner, expressing thereby, that one and the same eternal essence does operate all in all, as well as privately and positively. These Poets term it by the name of Apollo in the day-time, because they pretend that in his position and benign nature, which is manifested in the vivifying property of the Sun, he composes the creature of seven parts, for by the quaternary number, the Pythagoreans did signify matter which is framed of the Elements, for it is the square of 2, which is an imperfect number, and therefore does decipher matter, and by the ternary which is the number of perfection, they express the form of things. So that these two numbers united, do make up the septenary number, which does include the perfect complement of the creature.
Again they entitle it Dionysius in the night-time, namely, in his dark and privative disposition, saying that under this name he used to tear and divide that creature into seven pieces, which under the title of Apollo, or in his positive property, or solar and divine nature it had composed. So that they seem to argue that the self-same unity in essence is the author as well of destruction and corruption as of the generation and vivification of the creature, but they therefore term it according unto the variety of his property by a differing name, no otherwise than the Cabalist calls it his hidden and privative property, Aleph Tenebrosum, or the Dark Aleph, namely when he keeps his beams of light in himself, or withdraws his face from the creature, and Aleph Lucidum, or the Light Aleph, when he shines forth unto it, and extends his beams of light upon it.
By this therefore we Christians may see, that the very Pagans did grant or acknowledge that which the Scriptures do testify, though it be by an allegorical way, concluding with them that it is only in the power of one and the same radical unity to save or destroy, to give life or take it away, to will or to nil, and in conclusion to operate all, and in all, and that according to its pleasure.
Thus have we confirmed, that the two members of an opposite condition or disposition do spring out of one eternal root, and that they operate in this world by clean contrary effects, and consequently since the mass of waters, whereof (as St. Peter does testify) the heavens and the earth were made of old, did come out of the dark chaos, and was as it were her second birth, which the Poets feign to be Pan, or the Universal nature it is easy to be considered by the wise Philosopher, that this passive portion of the world is by a natural instinct inclined to darkness, and unto all the privative conditions thereof.
"The vapour of the virtue of God, and the sincere emanation of the brightness of the omnipotent, and the splendor of the divine light, and the mirror without any spot of his goodness; that divided the waters into distinct orbs or spheres, and gave a proportional weight unto the air, and tied or hanged up the waters in the thick clouds by measure, and gave orders unto the rain, and made a passage for the lightnings of the thunders." (Sapientia 7, 24) (Job 26, 7) (Job 28, 25)
So that if it were not for this formal portion of the world, which proceed from that bright spirit of wisdom, all things would be alike. It is this Spirit that said,
"I came out from the mouth of Jehova and compassed about the heavens, I walked in the profundity of the abyss." (Ecclesiastes 3)
It was the bright wisdom which,
"Jehova did possess in the beginning of his ways, before his works, before all time, before the world was made, when there was not any abyss, before there was any fountain, before the mountains were raised or the earth created. When he made the heavens it was there, when he fortified the superior waters it was there, when the limits of -the sea were framed, lest the waters should pass their bound. When he gave the earth her foundation it was there with him, as a helper to compose all things." (Proverbs 8) (John 1)
To conclude, by it all was formally made, and without it was nothing made and preserved. So that if it were not for the present action of this formal spirit, the watery matter of the world would return into the deformed state of her mother Chaos. For being in this world, it is inclined to the disposition of her mother, being that it is passive, feminine, and serves in place of the mother of all things. In another respect, the vivifying and bright emanation of the eternal Unity, has become the masculine actor or father of all things, being that it does vivify every thing in this world, as the Apostle teaches us, and as the aforementioned Poets do seem to intimate to us, under the name of Apollo, or the father of light.
This therefore being well observed, we may by the detection of these two abstruse and mystical principles, I mean of Light and Darkness, attain to the radical knowledge and original of the true sympathy and antipathy, being that it is evident, that the first proceeded from that concording and vivifying love, which arises from the benign emanation of the Creator. which desires to be joined with its like, and seeks to preserve its like by union, and the other issued from that discording, privative, and hateful affection, which darkness and deformity does afford unto the children of light and life, and to all beauteous offsprings thereof.
By this therefore it appears, that as before the separation of these different properties or effects of one unity, namely of light from darkness, which was brought to pass by the divine word, all things were one and the same without distinction and difference, and that unity or one, was no way to be numbered among those which were created, so that light was darkness, and darkness light, and neither of them discernable. Nothing was really distinguished, but all were one in the first matter of all things, which was in the eternal unity.
So that, then there was neither light nor darkness, nor day nor night, nor heaven nor earth, nor spirit nor body, nor good nor evil, nor pure nor impure, nor generable nor corruptible, nor this nor that, and yet nevertheless all these, as well spiritual as corporal, proceeded from that potential subject, which remained complicitly in that infinite Unity, which both was, and is, and ever shall be, all in all, and over or without all.
O admirable wisdom of God in all his works: All things proceeded from one matter, which nevertheless was nothing of these things which were made. All things were abstrusely hidden and in secret, but according to our Saviour's words, nothing was so occult and obscure, but was to be revealed and made to appear to sight, by the penetrating operation of the admirable word Fiat, by whose divine spagyrical action or virtue, that one thing was divided into two contraries, upon which names well befitting their natures were imposed. For the one, as I have told you was called Light, and the other Darkness. The first also was termed Day, the last Night, and thus was the pure separated from the impure.
Hence therefore it comes, that all the world was originally divided into two contrary Kingdoms, that corresponds to these two radical branches of the one unity. By which relation it is easy to express, what in truth is light and darkness, what day and night, what goodness and what badness, what is heaven and what is hell, what is truth and what is falsehood, what is humility and what is pride, what justice and what injustice, what is gladness and what is sorrow, what is sweet and what is bitter, what is action and what is passiveness, what is life and what is death, what is generation and what corruption, what is pure and what impure, what is wholesome and what pernicious, what is a medicine and what a poison, and to conclude, what is amiable and what is odious, what is concord and what is discord, and in consequence, what is sympathy and what antipathy , in an infinity of creatures in this world.
That the whole world, and every creature thereof, is composed of these two contrarities, or opposite natures, we find justified as well by the sacred authorities, as testimony of ethnic Philosophy. For the Son of Syrach said,
"All things are of a two-fold nature, whereof the one is contrary to the other, and yet there is not anything which is defective " (Ecclesiastes 42)
And thereupon the Philosopher Heraclitus concludes, that all things in the world are made by strife and concord, and Empedocles will have the soul to be composed of the elements, and of friendship and enmity.
To conclude, lest some scrupulous reader condemn me for making so long a discourse upon these two contrary principles proceeding from the one Root. I thought it most fit to certify each judicious person, that the true knowledge thereof is of an especial importance, because the two aforesaid principles are observed to be the real and only foundation, both of universal Philosophy and Theology. For the root and basis of them both, does consist of the true understanding of these two contraries. And therefore if they be not first of all well opened and conceived, how is it possible afterwards that they should be rightly handled either in true Philosophy or understood in those places of Holy-Writ, wherein they are so often mentioned?
Touching the explication of this most profound Sphyngian Riddle or abstruse question, namely why God in his secret sense or mental intent did raise up and ordain out of the informed matter or Ideally delineated in himself, these two contraries, to cause thereby that all things in the world should be put into a mutual dissonance, or fight and conflict with one another, so that there is found nothing which participates of goodness, which has not its contrary , that is to say which does not communicate with badness, (inasmuch as God himself is not without an adversary), truly it is too occult a Cabal to be explained by mortal capacity, being that it may well be esteemed the profoundest secret of all the divine mysteries. Wherefore there is required a mental aspect, well purged and mundified from each misty cloud of ignorance and error, to search out the bowels of this question, and therefore it is impossible to be revealed unto any, but to such as God does immediately bestow his grace and Holy Spirit, which is the searcher out of all mysteries. Which Spirit is in us, and breaths and blows, when and where it listeth, and is called in Scriptures, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Sanctification, the Spirit of Illumination, the Spirit of Revelation, which is the best interpreter of the Divine Secrets mentioned in Holy-Writ.
Neither truly does it become us of our selves to inquire why God made this or that, or thus or after this fashion. But it behoves the zealous to refer all this unto the time when these secrets shall be discovered, which will come to pass, when the Seventh Seal shall be opened, For then that high mystery, which is the final cause, why and for what end God's Providence will by these two opposites reveal itself, and clean extinguish all enmity out of the world, shall be discovered.
As touching nevertheless the end of this dissonancy, the Apostle said, that it will be, when the Son has delivered the Kingdom to God the Father, and when he has evacuated every Principality, and Power, and Virtue, he must reign until he has made his enemies his foot-stool, and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death.
So that as two contraries or discords proceeded from one Unity or unison, namely Light and Darkness from one Divine Essence, so also these two dissonant branches or confusion of Unities, will at the last be reduced or return again into one harmonious Unity, in which there will be found no dissonance, namely when these words of the Revelation are accomplished, "Behold I make all things new, for the old heaven and earth have passed away," (Revelations 21)
But leaving this alliteral discourse, we will proceed directly into our Sympathetic and Antipathetic Argument or inquisition, into which that we may penetrate with the greater alacrity and facility, and dive the deeper into the research of their actions, it will be fit that we should describe in the first place, the manner how the world does live, by the participation of these two, namely of the Light and the Darkness, and that I will express unto you in a few words what the Ancient Philosophers have determined about the soul of the world, and lastly I will show that their opinions do not err or vary much from the Testimony of the Sacred Bible.
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